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Our annual review of the best bets in tribal gaming

By Karrie L. Zukowski


In the December issue of Casino Player magazine, we highlighted some of the leading Native American casinos from across the country. Picking up where we left off, here’s part two of our annual review of today’s top tribal casino properties. Again, each one has its own merits, nuances, and surprises, but all are fantastic casinos worthy of a visit.

SNOQUALMIE CASING Snoqualmie, Washington

High above the Seattle city lights with majestic views of the Cascade Mountains, Snoqualmie Casino in Snoqualmie, Washington, offers a first-class getaway with all the amenities. It has the right blend of Vegas-style gaming and entertainment with Native flare. It features fast-paced thrills on the gaming floor, upscale lounges and bars, legendary performances in two concert venues, exceptional restaurants, and hospitality that’s beyond compare.

There’s plenty of gaming variety to satisfy any player. The 1,700 dazzling slot machines include all of the tried and true favorites, plus the latest machines. Table game enthusiasts won’t be disappointed with 54 classic gaming tables to choose from including blackjack, craps, Spanish 21, roulette, baccarat and fortune pai gow. High-rollers can sharpen their card-shark teeth at one of the five tables in the exclusive Poker room. These five tables give you a choice of fixed limit, no limit and pot-limit 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. From friendly games to high stakes, there’s a game for everyone.

Join Snoqualmie’s Crescent Club, its quick, easy and free to sign up with rewards starting immediately. With the new Crescent Club, every point counts, and every reward comes faster. Earn points to exchange for food, drinks and cash, and turn your visits into an escape. More play equals more perks. No more monthly averages to worry about -just swipe your card and watch the points roll in. They offer several benefit tiers to help you get the most out of your membership.

And as most gamblers know, it’s best not to play on an empty stomach. To create exceptional meals, Snoqualmie relies on the very best in culinary perfection. Vista Prime Steaks & Seafood is Snoqualmie Casino’s newest enhanced Northwest-inspired dining experience. Set against the backdrop of the majestic Snoqualmie Valley, Vista delivers a meal to remember with exceptional regional favorites and classic steakhouse fare served with a modern twist. 12 Moons features all of the best flavors of Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese and Japanese cuisine. Enjoy the best of five worlds at the Falls Buffet. Come hungry and make yourself at home with five action stations of world-class comfort food, offering favorite dishes such as king crab, steak and lobster, prime rib and dim sum. But if you are on a hot streak and can only spare a few minutes, there are three quick dining options that allow you to get back to the gaming floor quickly, Sno Cafe, Sno Deli or Drip.

Don’t forget to stop and catch your breath by enjoying your favorite cocktails. The Mist Bar has the games, the food and all of the libations to keep your night going strong. Mist bartenders are waiting to serve up a great selection of the Northwest’s famous craft beers along with a rotating menu of seasonal cocktails made to order.

For non-gaming entertainment, Snoqualmie Casino has a renowned concert venue. The 1,200-seat indoor ballroom hosts big-name country, rock, jazz and comedy acts. Featured events include Vince Neil of Motley Crue, Winterfest, The ClairVoyants and more. For more information about Snoqualmie Casino, please visit


Step into a world of glitz, gaming, and Southern hospitality at the Coushatta Casino Resort in Kinder, Louisiana. From slots to table games to championship golf, this property has something for every0ne—including some of the loosest slots in the region, as certified by Strictly Slots magazine.

Coushatta is a premier casino destination offering 100,000 square feet of casino space with 2,800 slots and more than 70 table games. Settle in for a snug game of blackjack, take a spin on roulette, or get in on a craps game where cheers break out over a roll of the dice. Play pai gow, mini-baccarat, let it ride, three-card poker, or put on your “poker face” for Texas hold ‘em or Omaha in the huge live Poker Room. Whatever your preference, your game is waiting.

If you’re looking for the hottest new slots or traditional favorites, the selection at Coushatta Casino Resort can’t be beat, with more than 950 traditional spinning reel games, more than 1,600 video slots with the best payback in the region.

Play a wide range of denominations including over 1,700 penny games, 100 nickel games, 325 quarter games, 375 dollar games, and over 600 multi-denomination games from penny up to $50

Coushatta also offers the best in dining and lodging options. For a flavorful steak, visit the Big Sky Steakhouse or for some great Louisiana seafood like gumbos, oysters on the half shell, or fried seafood dishes, Gumbeaux’s Oyster & Sports Bar fits the bill perfectly. And don’t miss the Seven Clans Buffet. Enjoy a large variety of cuisine, a salad bar and live cooking stations — plus a decadent dessert bar! With seven more restaurants and bars, there is something for every appetite.

For an overnight or weekend stay, Coushatta has four options. Top of the list is the Grand Hotel. Coushatta’s flagship luxury hotel, The Grand Hotel has been completely renovated into an adult-exclusive property, ages 21 and up, offering a relaxing and refreshing escape. Whether it’s the elegantly appointed rooms and suites of Seven Clans Hotel, or the luxurious lakefront RV and chalet resort at Red Shoes Park, you will enjoy the ultimate in amenities and service for any price range.

From the certified loose slot machines to the tables to the eateries to some after-hours fun, Coushatta makes for a great getaway. For more information, visit


FireKeepers Casino Hotel in Battle Creek, Michigan is the quintessential gaming destination featuring a large gaming floor with over 2,900 slot machines, 70 table games, bingo, keno, the Aurora High-Limit Lounge and a newly renovated spacious 22 table non-smoking poker room. Fire- Keepers offers six distinctive dining destinations, multiple lounges and a multi-purpose event center. Also boasting eight-stories and a Four Diamond rating, FireKeepers hotel has a variety of stylishly designed rooms and suites, fully accessorized with all the high-end amenities you need to make any stay a night to remember.

Get ready to turn the world off and get your game on. From penny slots to the latest progressive options, all the favorite slots are at your fingertips. Take your pick of the incredible selection of slot games at Fire- Keepers Casino. Whether you want to play a collection of penny machines or cozy up in the High Limit area, your seat will be kept warm and the jackpots waiting. Look for some of these top games: Fort Knox, Hot Shot, Jaws, Sopranos, Star Wars, Wizard of Oz and Monopoly Money Grab. And be sure to become a Red Hot Rewards Club member, so you can start enjoying the benefits and discounts right away.

What beats the thrill of a dealer flipping a jack right onto your ace? Or when the roulette ball falls exactly on your number? With over 70 live table games, this kind of excitement can happen at any moment. And one more reason to play at FireKeepers, you can win a one-of-a-kind Count’s Kustoms vehicle! You can win up to $250 cash or a Count’s Kustoms vehicle. just look for the special Count’s Kustoms themed tables and make the additional side bet. If you get dealt an ace in your first two cards, you win even money. Get dealt a black-jack in your first two cards and spin the bonus wheel and you could win cash or the Grand Prize, a one-of-a-kind vehicle from Count’s Kustoms!

And for you high rollers, check out the Aurora High-Limit Lounge. It’s a private haven for the Sizzlin’, Blazin’ and Inferno members, featuring a wide selection of high limit slots and table games. With exclusive amenities like a fireplace lounge and a deliciously delightful menu prepared just for you.

Did somebody mention food? No trip would be complete without trying any one of the six delectable dining options. Here’s a quick review of three favorites.

SMOKE ‘N FIRE – Nestled just off the main hotel lobby, Smoke ‘N Fire is the perfect spot for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The menu pops with classic American fare accented with delicious BBQ undertones.

NIBI – From the minute you enter FireKeepers’ signature restaurant you know you’re in for one unrivaled dining experience. From the gorgeous fresh seafood to the thick, juicy rib-eyes, this is the spot where great meals, good friends and unforgettable nights come together.

MIJEM BUFFET – Enjoy an endless variety of the freshest hot and cold dishes featuring a tempting array of international favorites. Top it off with a visit to the dessert bar with its ever-flowing chocolate fountain.

Headline entertainment, live music, popular DJ’s and big screen sporting events, keep the excitement going. At the Event Center, you can see big name entertainers like Cheap Trick, February 9, Peter Frampton, March 30 and A Very Intimate Acoustic Evening With Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo, April 6. For more information, visit


Desert Diamond Casino is the finely cut gaming jewel of Arizona, offering unsurpassed gambling options, fine dining, a pulse pounding nightclub and first-rate entertainment venues.

An enterprise of the Tohono O’odham Nation, Desert Diamond Casinos & Entertainment has been in the gaming and entertainment business for over 30 years, beginning in I985 with the opening of Papago Bingo in the Tucson area. In I993, the first Desert Diamond Casino was opened in Tucson. Six years later, a smaller facility opened in Why, Arizona and a third Desert Diamond Casino near Sahuarita followed suit in 2001. The most recent addition to the Desert Diamond family in West Valley opened its doors in December 2015 and broke ground on December 1, 2017 on the permanent, full-scale home for its Desert Diamond West Valley Casino.

The new, $400 million, facility will feature a 75,000 square-foot casino floor with Class III slot machines, poker and blackjack tables, and live bingo, as well as five restaurants. Tohono O’odham Gaming Enterprise is also planning future phases of construction once the permanent casino is complete, including a hotel, spa and other resort amenities. Once fully built out, the resort and casino will occupy over one million square-feet and create more than 3,000jobs. In 2007, the original property on Nogales Highway was replaced with the current modern incarnation, complete with casino, hotel and convention center complex. Offering luxurious, inviting accommodations, quality amenities and warm personalized service, just minutes from the Tucson International Airport, it’s a perfect blend of relaxation, business and entertainment. So, whether you are traveling to Tucson for business or pleasure—or are a local looking for that “in town” getaway— you’ll enjoy being a guest.

All rooms are non-smoking and attractively decorated with contemporary décor with furnishings and textiles in Tucson desert palettes of beige, sand, ivory and black. The spacious and comfortable accommodations offer a complete array of modern amenities including double pillow top mattress with premium linens, HDTV with cable and movies on-demand, large work desk, complimentary wireless Internet access, hardwired data port, dual line speaker phone, voicemail, in room safe, refrigerator, coffee maker and more.

There’s always a game for you at Desert Diamond and exhilarating action await guests on the casino floor. Take a spin on over 1,000 of the latest and hottest slots or go for that elusive royal flush on one of the countless video poker machines. Test your skills with around-the-clock blackjack and poker tables. You can even enjoy popular poker games like Texas hold’em and Omaha hi/lo split, so grab a seat at the table or join in on one of their exciting poker tournaments. When it’s time to chow down, get ready for some good times and amazing food at Diamond Café. Grab a meal in a comfortable setting with cool vibes and a friendly atmosphere —just steps away from the casino floor. Or if it’s variety you seek, Ko:Sin Ki: Buffet has a full menu of options to satisfy everyone in your group. From Sunday brunches to seafood dinners, ko:Sin Ki: Buffet has it all.

Lf you want to keep the excitement alive, join in on a dance party or take in a live show with big name entertainers at Monsoon Nightclub. Lf you need to take a break, step into one of the two relaxing, intimate lounges right on the gaming floor. Stop in for a drink, watch the game, or discuss your winning strategies with friends. The lounges are open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m.

POTAWATOMI HOTEL & CASINO Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Potawatomi Hotel & Casino, located in the heart of downtown Milwaukee, serves as Wisconsin’s most popular entertainment destination with more than 6 million visits annually. It’s also one of the country’s largest tribally owned and operated casinos. The property, featuring more than 1.1 million square feet of space, is home to the finest in casino entertainment, including gaming, dining, live performances and lodging.

Potawatomi Hotel is a prominent 19-story hotel offering guests world-class service and deluxe amenities. The property features 381 guest rooms, including 16 suites and a lavish presidential suite that offer stunning views of the Milwaukee skyline and Lake Michigan. The hotel also features a casual dining restaurant and bar/lounge on its first floor, coffee bar, business center, exercise room and complimentary Wi-Fi.

With more than 150,000 square feet of gaming space, there are plenty of options for guests looking for great gaming entertainment. The casino features thousands of slot machines, in a variety of themes and denominations; nearly 100 table games, from blackjack and craps to baccarat and roulette; a huge bingo hall providing high-stakes jackpots during multiple sessions daily; a comfortable 20-table poker room where guests can play a number of variations on the popular game; and an off track betting room featuring the best in horse, greyhound and carriage racing from around the globe.

Potawatomi Hotel & Casino is full of the latest slot machines featuring state-of-the art technology. Nearly 3,000 machines from the country’s leading manufacturers provide guests with plenty of fun and exciting options. Themes from iconic TV shows and movies, like Back to the Future, Wheel of Fortune and True Blood keep guests entertained with dazzling visuals and edge-of-your-seat bonus rounds. There are machines for everyone’s tastes with video- and reel-style machines featuring denominations ranging from $.01 all the way to $100. A large smoke-free slots area is located next to the casino’s Bingo Hall on the third floor.

With nearly 100 tables on the casino’s gaming floor, the selection of options available to players is huge — from favorites like blackjack, craps, roulette and baccarat, to carnival-style games like let it ride bonus poker and casino war. The fast-paced action of the casino’s 24-hour, non-smoking poker room features Texas hold ’em, seven card stud and Omaha. Guests can call up to two hours in advance to reserve a seat at the table.

The World Series of Poker is better than ever and Potawatomi Hotel & Casino is once again an official Circuit Event stop. This is your chance to compete locally against some of the world’s best players for a guaranteed Main Event prize pool of $750,000 and your shot at the World Series of Poker Global Casino Championship. Tournament events run February 1-12. The Main Event is scheduled for February 9-12 in the Event Center with a guaranteed prize pool of $750,000! Delicious is the word that first comes to mind at Potawatomi’s many food outlets. From the finest in steaks and seafood to the delectable tastes of Asia and Italy, there is something for all tastes in the seven dining venues. Top picks are Dream Dance Steak, Bella ltaliana and RuYi.

Dream Dance Steak blends refined innovation with the tradition and comfort of a Wisconsin steakhouse. Regional ingredients, house-made cheeses and fine house-cured charcuterie complement Dream Dance Steak’s seasonal menu.

As Potawatomi’s newest restaurant, Bella ltaliana serves up classic Italian fare at prices guests will feel good about. Offering appetizers, flatbreads, pastas, specialty entrées, desserts, a large wine list and more — the venue’s selections are crafted with the season’s freshest ingredients.

RuYi is an authentic Asian restaurant with an emphasis on noodle dishes, but also offers many traditional favorites from japanese, Chinese, Korean, Thai, Filipino and Hmong cuisines. RuYi, which means “as you wish,” is adorned in contemporary, Asian-styled surroundings and rich red and gold colors, creating an atmosphere of elegance. A sushi bar featuring the freshest in rolls, sashimi was added to the restaurant in 2016.

Whether its rock ‘n roll royalty, blues legends, R&B stars, country icons or hilarious comics, Potawatomi brings them all to visitors regularly. With several venues on property, guests can catch their favorite local band or a huge national act. For more information about Potawatomi Hotel & Casino, visit

TALKING STICK RESORT Scottsdale, Arizona

Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona, is a Four-Diamond haven where fun is limited only by your imagination. World class gaming, luxurious guest rooms, gourmet dining, first-rate entertainment, and a state-of-the-art spa wait to satisfy your every whim.

Bursting with creature comforts and contemporary appointments, deluxe guest rooms exude a relaxing ambiance that melds Southwest style with modern flair. Each spacious room boasts distinguished features, such as floor-to-ceiling windows, complimentary wireless Internet access, countless premium in-room amenities and patio areas or balconies with stunning views of the Camel-back and McDowell mountains. This oasis is no mirage.

Offering more than 240,000 square feet of gaming space, the casino floor features more than 800 multi-denominational slot machines, including the hottest new games like Lightning Link, Pac Man, Dancing Drums, Crazy Money ll and River Dragons. Not to mention a large array of penny slots, video poker, table games, poker and Keno.

Keno just keeps getting better at both Talking Stick Resort and sister property Casino Arizona in Scottsdale. The new Progressive Mega Keno is your chance to win up to $50,000 or more! How it works: when you purchase your ticket, add a Progressive Mega Keno wager to each set of numbers. If a certain amount of your numbers match, you’ll win a cash prize. If all of them match, you’ll cash in on the progressive jackpot! It’s that easy.

Be sure to join the Player Rewards Club to receive bonuses just for playing your favorite games. Player Rewards Club offers members a range of valuable benefits, including entries into the monthly giveaways and drawings, free play, dining discounts, exclusive tournament and event offers and access to the exciting amenities at Talking Stick Resort and Casino Arizona.

Talking Stick is also home to Arizona’s largest poker room, known as The Arena. Favorites like Texas hold’em, Omaha and seven-card stud, as well as daily, weekly and monthly tournaments, are featured. On top of that, there are plenty of jackpots and giveaways happening all the time. With all of this fun and excitement, you’re bound to get hungry. The culinary experts at Talking Stick Resort work tirelessly to ensure that visiting guests have a wide range of dining experiences to choose from. With an eye on every detail, all six restaurants have been designed for optimal comfort and to satisfy all dining preferences.

Last but not least, the plethora of amenities. These include: 11 bars and lounges, 24-hour in room hotel dining service, resort pools with poolside cabana rentals, a 650-seat showroom with regular live entertainment, an on-site florist, barber shop, 24- hour hotel fitness center, concierge service, dry cleaning and valet laundry service, on-site rental car service, adjacent golf course and full service Spa. With so much to do, it doesn’t matter whether you booked a relaxing getaway vacation or are in town for a business conference event, Talking Stick’s got it all. For more about all that Talking Stick Resort has to offer visit www.talkingstickresortcom.



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